HARLINGEN - The Harlingen Cardinals (3-1, 1-0) opened up District 32-6A play with a 45-7 win over Brownsville Rivera (0-4, 0-1) Friday at Boggus Stadium, but it wasn’t pretty for 24 minutes. The Cardinals were sloppy in the first half leading just 14-0, but after a stern talking to at halftime they scored on five of six second half drives to roll to the easy win.
”Give Coach Chavez credit, Rivera came out ready to play and they got after us. We didn’t come out intense, homecoming week, distractions, doesn’t matter we were sloppy,” said Harlingen HC Manny Gomez.
The Cardinals did get off to a strong start as on their second drive, QB Jesse Castro ripped off a 59 yard touchdown run to stake the Cardinals to a quick 7-0 lead. Harlingen would struggle to get out of their own way most of the rest of the half, but their defense kept them ahead of the curve as after allowing two first downs to Rivera on the first drive Rivera didn’t pick up a first down until the fourth quarter. Leo Tienda gave Harlingen a 14-0 lead right before halftime on a two yard run after Harlingen recovered a Rivera fumble.
After a fumble to open the third quarter, Harlingen got the offense in gear starting with a leaping six yard touchdown run from Castro to make it 21-0. After a Rivera punt, Harlingen broke the game open late in the third as Michael Allen Gonzalez ripped off a 78 yard touchdown run to make it 28-0 Cardinals.
Rivera finally got on the board early in the fourth on a one yard run by QB Oscar Gonzalez to make the score 28-7, but Harlingen would tack on 17 additional points in the fourth to cruise to the 45-7 win and a strong start in what should be a very competitive District 32-6A race.